Why Won't Windows Media Player Burn?

By Robin Noelle

Windows Media Player (WMP) is the audio and multimedia program developed by Microsoft that is included on many Windows-based computers. You can also download Windows Media Player for free from the Microsoft website for either Windows or Mac. Many people use WMP to watch videos, listen to music and burn CDs of data, music, video or images. It also allows users to synch and share data with mobile devices like the Pocket PC and with gaming consoles. It's one of the most popular digital media players available, but occasionally, you can run into common problems when trying to burn a disc.

Inspection Errors

Before burning your files to a blank disc, Windows Media Player will inspect them to ensure that they are complete files and in the proper format for burning. Occasionally, during this inspection process, WMP will stop or stall. If this happens, check that none of the files are corrupted and that they are all in a format readable by WMP. WMP does not support Quicktime files (.mov, .qt), MP4 or RealNetworks content (.ra, .rm or .ram). Another reason that WMP might give an error message when burning your files is that the content is rights-protected. Additional errors might suggest that the file cannot be found or that the file format is incorrect. This might occur if the file is a Quicktime movie that has had the extension renamed, for example. Try playing each file in WMP before adding it to your burn list.

Audio CD Problems

Some common problems that you can run into when burning audio CDs is that WMP does not recognize your blank disc, or that all of the files won't fit on one disc. If you can't fit all of your audio files onto one disc, you may have to either split your playlist onto two discs, or burn a data disc which would be playable on your computer or some stereos that read MP3 files. If WMP doesn't recognize your blank disc, try another disc. If that one doesn't work either, then you should try another brand. Other possible solutions could include updating your drivers, checking for WMP updates and lowering the burning speed under Options.

Adding More Files to a Disc

If you are attempting to go back and add more files to a disc that you've created in WMP, you will get an error when the disc has been closed or "finalized." WMP automatically finalizes audio CDs, but whether a data disc is closed at the end of a burning process is an option that you can select. If you cannot add more files to a data disc, then you probably did not select to keep the CD open after burning. You will need to re-burn the disc again.

Buffer Underrun Errors

Occasionally, you will burn a disc and after only one or two files, the disc will appear to be full. This occurs when the CD suffers from a buffer underrun error which results in the CD being closed too soon. Buffer underrun errors are more common with audio CDs than with data CDs. To prevent this problem on your next CD, close all other computer programs and burn at a lower speed.

CD Drive Isn't Detected

Sometimes the problem with burning your CD is that the drive isn't detected. You will need to make sure that your drive is installed properly. Go to "Start>Control Panel>System>Device Manager" to make sure that your CD drive is listed and that the drivers are installed. You should also check the Windows website and your computer manufacturer's website for updated drivers. If you've installed an aftermarket drive, you will need to check the maker of that drive's website as well. As a last resort, you can choose to uninstall this device from your computer in the device manager by right clicking and selecting "uninstall." The hardware should reinstall upon a reboot. If it does not, you will need to reinstall it manually with the driver that came with your drive, or the one that you recently downloaded when you updated your hardware.